Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Creativity, Braintorming, Outcome Driven, Open, Customer Driven - STOP

I normally carefully plan the articles that I post to my blog and to various websites that I subscribe to but in this case I am driven by Innovation Rage!

Each day I see posts telling me exactly how to be creative, how to manage my innovation projects and who I should collaborate with. Each time the articles seem to become more prescriptive and hence more constraining. Taken too much further this would mean that all of those innovation gurus out there are actually stifling Creativity and Innovation. Remember, Charles Handy once said that guru is just a word that Americans use instead of charlatan!!

As a recent post suggested, Innovation is about tomorrow and not yesterday or even today, so how can we predict in such detail? Surely Innovation is about attitude, behaviours, skills and know how? We take a look at where we might like to go and then apply ourselves to getting there? Maybe we take a circuitous route, maybe we never get there at all but we usually go somewhere.

Is SatNav innovation applied to transport or is it restricting our enjoyment of travel? Would it be more innovative to ban SatNav or maps? Perhaps we should ban private vehicles so that travel becomes a social experience as we are compelled to interact with each other?

I'm sure that the companies that we most think of as innovative such as Google, 3M etc don't have a complete documented system (if there is a manual they won't follow it) they just get on with it. The 'system' such as it is, is embedded in company culture. Those wanting to adopt someone else's Innovation best practice should be careful. Best practice is yesterday's implementation and taken out of context can be dangerous.

So throw away the labels and your best practice manuals and start experimenting (and throw away your SatNav if you dare).

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